The CDF versus the LCWR

The recent document from the CDF concerning the LCWR is here:

Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious [PDF]

A related statement from Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the CDF is here.

And the comments of the USCCB are on this page.

My comments:

The ‘three major areas of concern’ in the document mention only one person by name: Laurie Brink OP. Why? because of this address:

the keynote address at the LCWR 2007 annual assembly has aroused “particular concern and discussion.”

In that keynote, titled “A Marginal Life: Pursuing Holiness in the 21st Century,” Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Laurie Brink commented on the decline of many religious orders. She characterized some successful new orders as being “acquiescent” to others’ expectations and also discussed the possible future of women religious.

She described a “sojourning congregation” as “the dynamic option for Religious Life.”

In Sister Laurie’s words, such a congregation involves “moving beyond the Church, even beyond Jesus.”

“A sojourning congregation is no longer ecclesiastical. It has grown beyond the bounds of institutional religion. Its search for the Holy may have begun rooted in Jesus as the Christ, but deep reflection, study and prayer have opened it up to the spirit of the Holy in all of creation. Religious titles, institutional limitations, ecclesiastical authorities no longer fit this congregation, which in most respects is Post-Christian.”

She described the Benedictine Women of Madison as having a commitment to “ecumenism” which led them “beyond the exclusivity of the Catholic Church into a new inclusivity, where all manner of seeking God is welcomed. They are certainly religious women, but they are no longer women religious as it is defined by the Roman Catholic Church. They choose as a congregation to step outside the Church in order to step into a greater sense of holiness. Theirs was a choice of integrity, insight and courage.” [CNA]

The CDF document also notes that the LCWR has rejected the Church’s teaching on the reservation of priestly ordination to men:

“For example, the LCWR publicly expressed in 1977 its refusal to assent to the teaching of Inter insigniores on the reservation of priestly ordination to men. This public refusal has never been corrected.”

In my view, this teaching falls under the ordinary and universal Magisterium, and is infallible. So the LCWR rejection of that teaching is the sin of heresy. Although the document says “doctrinal error” in several places, I consider these errors to be so grave as to rise to the level of heresy on several points.

Several of the addresses at LCWR conferences present a vision or description of religious life that does not conform to the faith and practice of the Church.

The CDF is here indicating that the discipline of the LCWR is disordered, just as its understanding of doctrine is disordered.

Some speakers claim that dissent from the doctrine of the Church is justified as an exercise of the prophetic office…. Some of the addresses at LCWR-sponsored events perpetuate a distorted ecclesiological vision, and have scant regard for the role of the Magisterium as the guarantor of the authentic interpretation of the Church’s faith.

This error is found among many so-called Catholic theologians, as well as among many liberal Catholics. The Magisterium is treated even as an opponent of the faithful, rather than a Teacher, with ability and authority to teach from God.

a two-fold problem. The first consists in positive error (i.e.
doctrinally problematic statements or formal refutation of Church teaching found in talks given at LCWR-sponsored conferences or General Assemblies). The second level of the problem concerns the silence and inaction of the LCWR in the face of such error, given its responsibility to support a vision of religious life in harmony with that of the Church and to promote a solid doctrinal basis for religious life.

Errors of commission on doctrine: explicitly rejecting magisterial teaching.

Errors of omission on doctrine: remaining silent on certain important points of doctrine, such as the Church’s teaching against abortion, euthanasia, etc.

As a case in point, the Systems Thinking Handbook presents a situation in which sisters differ over whether the Eucharist should be at the center of a special community celebration since the celebration of Mass requires an ordained priest, something which some sisters find “objectionable.”

This type of problem is essentially heresy: objecting to the teaching that the Mass requires a (male) priest.

There is also a problem in the formation of Sisters, they are essentially being indoctrinated into a set of doctrines and disciplines that are non-Catholic and heretical.

the formation programs among several communities that belong to the LCWR did not have significant doctrinal content…. with little attention to basic Catholic doctrine, such as that contained in the authoritative text of the Catechism of the Catholic Church…. confusion about the Church’s authentic doctrine of the faith is reinforced, rather than corrected

In other words, ‘formation’ moves the Sisters further away from the Church.

Unfortunately, I don’t think that the steps taken by the CDF, appointing Bishops to try to correct these problems, will work. The result of this attempt at correction will probably be seen in continued heresy, ending in an apostasy from the Church by many women religious.

We are on the threshold of the great apostasy, and I think that this action by the CDF will be one of many factors that finally trigger the heretics in the Church to depart entirely from the Catholic Faith and entirely break communion with Rome.

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1 Response to The CDF versus the LCWR

  1. Kathleen Marshall says:

    Many of these Sisters and their communities have been leaving for years, more will do it now. Sadly, many sweet older Sisters who are under the leadership of the Superiors of LCWR are not able to make any difference in what is happening to their communities. Obedience to a Superior and obedience to the Magisterium is a tricky thing in a community.

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